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Researchers have discovered a new mechanism for activating immune cells

In a new study by the Yale cancer center, scientists have discovered a short endosomal protein that increases the activation of immune cells. 

Editor: Aigerim Akhmetova 

Translator: Tursunova Balkadisha 

Author: Bolysbek Dana 



Synthesized by interferon (a protein with antiviral properties) - transmembrane protein 3 or IFITM3 acts as a glue for the rapid Assembly and compression of large complexes of signaling molecules that together generate an activation signal for the immune system. B cells that produce antibodies, without IFITM3, cannot actively fight infections and generate an immunological "memory" of the infectious particles they encountered. 


Scientists performed genetic deactivation of IFITM3 in B cells, and this showed that in the absence of IFITM3, the reaction of B cells with a foreign pathogen was sluggish. 


While IFITM3 helps immune cells fight off infections, the new study also found that cancer cells use the same mechanism to activate and grow explosively. 


Studying patients with B-cell malignancies in three clinical trials, the researchers found high expression (synthesis) of IFITM3 among the strongest predictors of poor clinical outcome. 


On the other hand, the loss of IFITM3 not only affected immune cells, but also prevented the development of cancer. In the absence of IFITM3, normal cells that acquire cancer-causing mutations are protected from malignant transformation and cannot initiate the critical signaling cascade necessary for cancer growth. 


Interestingly, the first stage of this cascade, the initial activation of IFITM3, can be blocked by kinase(phosphotransferase) inhibitors that are already available in the clinic. In the future, scientists plan to test the effectiveness of certain kinase inhibitors in blocking IFITM3-dependent signal amplification in cancer.